Bishop Chantel Wright
Bishop Chantel R. Wright is an internationally celebrated choir director and the founder of Pneuma Ministries International. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Bishop Wright started her career as an award-winning choral conductor and received her formal education at Vander Cook College of Music, where she earned her BA degree in Music Education. As part of her undergraduate studies, Bishop Wright had the privilege of studying in London, England, with Ian Pleeth and traveled throughout Europe as a soloist. She started her professional career in Atlanta, Georgia, where she served on the music staff of Ebenezer Baptist Church — home of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – and as an educator in Dekalb County Public Schools. After seven years of service, Bishop Wright relocated to New York City and hit the ground running as the new Director of the Girls’ Choir of Harlem. Bishop Wright lent her talents to working with the youth of Queens, New York, as the Artistic Director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra Youth Gospel Choir, an honor bestowed on few women.
Chantel gained valuable experience as an orchestral conductor, which then inspired her to establish her own non-profit organization, Songs of Solomon: An Inspirational Ensemble, Inc. Almost immediately, Songs of Solomon flourished and was soon featured on major television networks and went on to win at competitions often times competing against adults. The Songs of Solomon ensemble also had the privilege of sharing the stage with American Idol winners, Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia Barrino, and served for five years at the US Tennis Open. Under Chantel’s leadership,The Songs of Solomon ensemble also performed with award winning recording artist, Elton John at Radio City Music Hall, sang with opera great, Jessye Norman at the Greenbrier Country Club. Jessye Norman was also the curator of the Honor Choral Music Festival conducted by Dr. Craig Jessop at the world famous Carnegie Hall, where today, the Ensemble is a mainstay. The ensemble has worked tirelessly over the past eighteen years under Chantel’s guidance and has garnered national and international acclaim.
Songs of Solomon was the featured chorus for the musical “Violet” on the Tony Awards. Songs of Solomon was selected to be a part of the inaugural Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon on network television. Having recently completing their recording project, “Variations of the War Cry,” Songs of Solomon is actively engaged across the United States and abroad as ambassadors of love. The Ensemble has been selected to present the work of 22nd Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, I Will Tell You the Truth from her book of poetry, Wade in the Water. The letters that were written by slaves and former slaves will be debuted at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Being totally committed to the spiritual, intellectual and artistic growth of today’s youth, Chantel knows that the only way to shape a generation of spirited, world class musicians is to work in conjunction with the education system. She then went on to establish The Songs of Solomon Academy for the Arts – an organization that directly serves New York City students in leadership, instrumental,vocal music appreciation. Since its inception, the program has given an impressive number of students from the Tri-State area, performance opportunities that rival professional artists around the world. The Academy maintained an artistic partnership with Professional Performing Arts School, the Harlem School of the Arts and now serves students at the elementary school level. As part of Chantel’s love for young people, she has also been actively involved in secured detention centers in the New York area and has continued to work with Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections project for youth in detention centers. To date Songs of Solomon have been consistently for the past four years were awarded the Neon Arts grant through the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice and Probation. Through “Let’s Burn: Culinary Arts Explosion, Debutante Cotillion and Songwriting Workshops, justice involved youth are equipped with real time experiences that better equip them to move back into the community. Chantel’s Songs of Solomon Academy for the Arts plans to implement The Sounds of Hope Chorale — a trial choral program aimed at fostering an appreciation for music and creating a safe haven for detained youth in secured and unsecured detention centers in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. The Chorale is poised to roll out the program nationally. Bishop Wright is often times found at the table when conversations are taking place that shape the most viable outcomes for the underserved and justice involved.
Bishop Wright has been sought out as a choral clinician nationally and internationally. For two consecutive years as the choir master for the Harare International Festival of the Arts in South Africa, as well as the Roma Gospel Festival in Rome, Italy. Chantel is a mainstay at the Ithaca Gospel Music Festival and is now presenting the Gospel at colleges and universities in the United States. As an initiative for aspiring artist, the government of the island of Bermuda engaged Chantel to do a series of workshops and a culminating festival. Most recently, Bishop Wright served at the Fede Gospel Festival in Barcelona, Spain.
Chantel is a recipient of the New York Times Teachers Who Matters Most Award, The Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble Community Service Award, and the Ephesus Seventh Day Adventist Community Service Award and is a member of the Riverside Club for Education. Recipient of a service award from The Administration for Child Services.
Chantel remains committed to building a literate music community, and also lends her time to the vocal music department of the Steinhardt School of Music at the New York University since 2008. She has recently joined the team at SAG-AFSTRA as the East Coast Sight-Singing Director, and continues her efforts to lift students and music teachers through her work with Metropolitan Opera. Moreover, she serves young people nationally and internationally through the arts organization partnerships, her uncompromised passion to see humanity win.
The highest calling in her life is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a licensed and ordained Bishop, within the Christ Centered Ministries Assembly, she is responsible for Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Utah. Bishop Wright has established Pneuma Ministries, International where peoples’ lives are being changed. She was anointed by the late Kenneth H. Moales Sr. and opened the church and preached her first sermon simultaneously. In addition to her work in Harlem, she is a minister for the nations with the Wednesday night Pentecost Service where worshipers from all over the world converge for a blessing from God. Bishop Wright facilitates Safe Conversations workshops all over the country to enable dialogue that yield solutions to deep conflict. She is a Choral Union president of the Thomas Dorsey National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses where she is on the national board of directors, and can also be found on WLIB as the host of “The Hour of Power.” Bishop Chantel R. Wright resides in New York City.